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What´s an average mile per day for tourists

I realize there´s a lot of leeway in travel style, but in searching for the ´perfect´ walking shoe, the notion came to me that what one considers a day of walking may be a marathon for another. ` We are finding that even using the bus and metro system, we can easily walk 6 to 8 miles in a day. Our first evening in Paris, we walked 10 miles. I brought 3 paris of shoes with me on this 7 week trip, Clarks, Keene and Merrill. I just turned 60. Maybe that´s a factor, but at the end of the day, I can´t tell that any shoe makes my feet feel better.

Any suggestions, tips would be most appreciated. I do some knee stretches, bends, before and after walking. Still, I end the day with burning heels, balls of my feet feel swollen and light shooting pain in my heels.

Posted by l.p.enersen
Ballerup, Denmark
706 posts

8 miles is about our average in a big city - less on the beach and more on a hike - and we are 61 and 58. You can do a lot with good socks, an extra sole, and an extra inner heel, but there is no real substitute for training before the trip. We run/walk about 10 miles every week all year round and do gymnastics and swimming too - and we are still tired after a full day of site seeing :-).

One advice I heard - and have used with some success - is taking a short rest on your bed with your feet in the air (I rest them on the wall). It forces the blood away from the feet.

Posted by Christi
Cotulla, TX, United States
2353 posts

Ditto on the socks - makes a big difference.

We average 6 to 8 miles a day as well

Just remember too that in between all of those steps you were likely still on your feet standing much of the day. Most of the standing & walking was also done on pavement, cement, stone, or cobbles - none of which are forgiving at all. We opt for paths through parks when possible.

You can always soak them in the tub when you return to your hotel.

Posted by Mira
Midwest
1697 posts

I'd say for a city 8 miles would be average. 10-12 isn't unusual and I do 15+ some days (I choose to walk more than necessary). Some cities have better transit than others, but I would think it would be tough to do less than 6 without taking cabs everywhere. It adds up- you can do several miles just in the Louvre or other big museums!
More for hiking, obviously, and less in resort type destinations.

As for feet, being in shape and used to your shoes and socks helps. Also, try on a million shoes before going. I don't care if brand x is "supposed to be great" - it has to feel right and the only way to tell is trying on. Shoe reviews are not all that helpful because everyone has different foot shapes, walking patterns. I get my running shoes from a store that watches you run and suggests the right shoes for you then makes you run around the parking lot in several pairs before buying. This has made a HUGE difference for running. I don't need this level of help for waking, but if I do I hope there is a similar store!

Posted by Bruce
Whitefish, Montana
2470 posts

If you are not used to walking many miles daily before a holiday in which you walk much, the best shoes won't make up the difference.

Posted by ramblin' on
Royaume-Uni
1249 posts

Before you go on holiday walk 6 to 8 miles every day on concrete for a month. Then you'll be in tip top shape. Simple really when you think about it.

There's no instant cure - you have to train up for all the walking.

Posted by Valerie
Tacoma
1557 posts

We're at the high end on mileage - we're usually over 15 miles each day and there's really no one thing that gets us through. We're uniformly wiped out at the end of each day but we've always rebounded by morning. We don't use any stretching or special equipment. I walk in a basic Merrill mesh Mary jane that's been on at least a dozen of these types of trips with me. The one thing that can do me in is a blister and so I don't mess around with shoe variety at all - I'm sick of the sight of those Merrills but I don't mess with what works.

Posted by acraven
Washington DC
10683 posts

I totally agree that feet are extremely individual. People sometimes rave here about brands that I know would not work for me; even in the store I can tell they are not structured right for my feet.

They symptoms you describe sound like you might need shoes with thicker, more cushioned soles and/or good innersoles. Or perhaps you've had those shoes a long time and they're sort of broken down?

Prior to 2015 I used ordinary lace-up walking shoes made by companies like Rockport, which were generally pretty comfortable, but last year I was heading out on a summer-long trip and felt there was room for improvement. I went to a small, somewhat pricey shoe store and spent some time with the salesman. I explained that my arches seemed a bit higher than average and I would be walking on concrete up to 10-12 miles a day. (I average less.) He had me stand on an electronic mat that showed the touch-points on the bottom of my feet and came up with some suggestions. I'm sure a good athletic-shoe store could do the same.

Although I had hoped for better-looking shoes that didn't scream "athletic", comfort was more important than appearance to me, and I ended up with shoes that were clearly meant for walking rather than going out to lunch. The shoes felt distinctly bouncy, and I added some high-quality innersoles (called non-custom orthotics, I think) that provided additional arch support. It was not cheap--between $220 and $250 as I recall.

There may have been some luck involved, because it's hard to be sure until you've taken a 10-mile walk and used shoes for several days, but those shoes worked well over the course of two long trips (totaling 7-1/2 months). I suspect the cushioning may also help in avoiding lower-back pain, but that's just a guess; it's not a problem I usually have. I expect to buy new shoes before my next trip; I'll keep using the old ones at home for jaunts to the farmer's market, etc.

Posted by Mona
NorCal
1859 posts

We typically walk a lot in cities on hard pavements (between 10,000-20,000 steps). That bothers some of our traveling companions a lot but doesn't seem to bother us because that's what we are used to walking on at home and our companions are more used to trails and asphalt rather than concrete. So I think a lot of walking in the shoes you are planning to take on hard surfaces prior traveling can help or reveal problems ahead of time.

I think foot pain is such an individual thing and I'm fortunate that I don't usually have that affect me. Last summer we traveled for 5 weeks in the heat of the summer so I only packed 3 different styles of sandals (Tevas, Clarks and an off brand for a wedding I attended). I did take a short pair of socks with me in my purse in case my feet got tired of a sandal strap but that never happened. My biggest problem with all that urban walking in sandals is dirty feet at the end of the day but that is where a good soaking helps.

Posted by Rita
South Dakota, USA
275 posts

I took a pedometer on my last 3 week trip to Europe and ranged between 3.5 to 10 miles of walking per day. The only thing that really helps for me is to alternate wearing two different brands of shoes. On my last trip I had two pairs of shoes I walked miles and miles in (Keens and Merrills) and wore a pair of ballet flats (Tieks) during the times spent on buses and ferries and evenings.

Posted by Swan
Napa, CA
3575 posts

My solution to body pain caused by too much walking is to walk less and use public transportation more.

Posted by mnannie
Northern Minnesota
135 posts

I took only two pairs of shoes for our three week combined trip of cities on our own and a Rick Steve's alpine tour. I started out wearing my New Balance "tennis shoe" with heel pillow insert and cush sole while walking in Prague. One day I decided to switch it up and I wore my Teva shoes (similar style to the NB). Halfway through that day my feet were starting to ache. I went back to the NB and wore them every single day for the rest of the trip. We walked and hiked up to 26,000 plus steps daily, and I had no issues at all with the NB shoes. I have cute, comfy shoes I will use for several mile walks at home, but I take shoes with laces for trips.

Three and a half months prior to our trip, I became diligent in making sure I met my goal on my Garmin Vivofit. I think this made a huge difference in how I felt after a ten mile hiking day in the Dolomites. I am 61.

Posted by Pam
Troy, Idaho, USA
5412 posts

I'm in the same range as you are and most of the others. The low end is usually around 7 miles/14,000 steps. The high end is around 12 miles/24,000 steps. I try to train for vacations with my base miles of 5 or 6 miles, 3 or 4 days a week and a long walk one day a week of up to 10 miles.

I default to comfort for my feet and usually wear Altra brand athletic shoes. I did miss out on going to a Mozart performance in Salzburg on the GAS tour this fall as they had a dress code that precluded athletic shoes and jeans.

I agree with some of the other posters that feet are so very different. I know many like the Ecco brand shoes but they are way too narrow for my feet!

Posted by Letizia
California
833 posts

Sometimes your feet are just going to burn at the end of a long travel day and no amount of money spent on a shoe is going to help that. I would be concerned about the shooting pain in your heel as that could be the start of Planters Factitious and that will stop all walking pretty fast. I have PF and have a specific brand of shoe (Vionic/Orthaheel) I wear to prevent this painful condition and I stretch my calves every day. I am fortunate in that Vionic makes sandals, shoes and boots. I take 4 pairs on every trip, a Sketchers tennis shoe (slip on with an insert for extra cushion), Vionic Sandal, Vionic ankle boot and Vionic flip flop. All have excellent arch support which what MY foot needs. I don't do any special sock with the boot just whatever I have, the shoe gives me the support and cushion. My feet still burn at the end of the day but there is no injury, just normal walking feet. I do walk a lot prior to a trip, more for my endurance, hips and legs so they know what is coming. Plus walking in Europe is so different than my neighborhood...so much uphill and stairs!!

Posted by christa
alameda, ca, usa
1713 posts

I do 8-10 miles most days on vacation, so much happy wandering to do--and sometimes back-tracking when I head off in the wrong direction. I am 52 and considered fit and healthy but by the end of the day I am generally exhausted after a day of walking, dealing with cobblestones, stairs and people and I also get something I call "museum hip"--standing alternating with moving at a much slower pace than normal makes my right hip ache. It goes away once I am able to stride freely.

Some foot fatigue is normal no matter how comfy your shoes are, but my past 2 trips have been much improved since I found the perfect walking boot for me--Fly London Yel, with a rubber wedge heel that cushions perfectly. They make other styles with this heel, including sandals. Add a pair of double-layer Wrightsocks or Smart Wool and my feet are very happy. My second pair has also been perfect for long days, Fluevog Promise oxford. I am toying with the idea of getting some Finn Comfort Ikebukuro sneaker-type oxfords, but the price has held me back a little. No matter how tried-and-true my shoes are I never leave home without my foot emergency pack--bandaids including ones for blisters, toe tubes, Nexcare tape and moleskin.

Posted by Rocket
San Francisco area
744 posts

If you don't already walk 6-8 miles a day at home I would suggest you build up to that level in the weeks before leaving on your trip. It will help with endurance, help break in new shoes, reveal what shoes are comfortable and fit well. It will also help to reveal if you may have some mechanical issues that require diagnosis and treatment from a professional (orthotics or specialized shoes).

I remember reading an article in the local newspaper, a podiatrist who did a Q&A column was asked by a runner what walking shoes to use. His response was since the running shoes supported her feet well enough to run in, to use them for everyday walking. Seemed to make sense to me and ever since then I've packed a pair of asics running shoes and a pair of waterproof low cut hiking shoes. I alternate between the two as needed but use the running shoes more.

I do occasionally suffer from a very minor case of plantar fasciitis. So I have researched the proper stretching exercises to use. So far I haven't needed to use them. My friend gets a more serious case of PF, he needs to use orthotics.

Posted by Zoe
Toledo, Ohio, US
11613 posts

Trishia, I think aging does effect your feet, perhaps loss of fat or moisture? All I know is that when I was 30 I could walk for miles in ballet flats, then Easy Spirit moccasins; now I use non-custom orthotics and thick-soled walking shoes.

Posted by Carole
San Francisco, California, USA
132 posts

Hi Trishia,
I have PF and must always wear custom orthotics. But I still got achy legs, muscle cramps in my calves and burning feet at the end of a long day of touring this past August. That was new and caught me by surprise. Since I didn't know what else to do, I sort of tried some experiment: In the morning I rubbed deodorant all over my feet and Oxyrub on my legs. That minimized the discomfort considerably. I guess my foot perspiration + rubbing against my socks & shoes created the burning.

Years ago, I, too, went to a pricey shoe store and spent a lot of money buying different shoes and innersoles. Nothing worked for long. My heels hurt so much I literally could not walk for long.

I finally went to a foot doctor. He was worth it. He fixed my PF. And even though the custom orthotics weren't cheap at the time, they've lasted 8 years. I wear them everyday all day long.

I hope you find a good, permanent solution too. Good luck!

Posted by thistleamy5
63 posts

I walk a lot when I travel - 20,000 - 30,000 steps - I just love to walk the streets and learn about a place - I especially love walking very early. Watch a town or city wake up.

On my last trip I took a pair of light weight Nike running shoes - and a great pair of sandals (brand escapes me right now) and they both worked out great. I am a part time runner so in ok shape.

If you have any foot issues take something with support - worse thing in the world to be half way through your trip and be in pain and not able to walk. I second everyone's advice to do some training before you go - break in shoes if they are new and also see what works for you.

Posted by Dee
Evergreen
119 posts

If you soak your feet be sure to use Cold water. I take a flat rubber disk (about 4" in diameter) to plug the drain of the shower, run an inch or two of cold water and then sit on a chair outside the shower with my feet in the shower. Helps with the burning and swelling.
I buy a product called Glide which is an anti-friction product. Generously rub on the balls of your feet before you put your socks on. Even use it mid day or evening too. REI has it and Dick's Sporting Goods. It looks like a deordorant stick.

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
9820 posts

We typically walk 8-10 miles a day in cities in Europe but we do a lot of hiking in the U.S. so that is not unusual. I swear by merino socks ( Icebreaker or Smartwool) and Superfeet insoles-- except for Merrell shoes which work well for me with their standard-issue insoles. No foot pain at the end of the day.

FWIW I am late 60's and had a lot of foot problems when I was younger. This seems to have gotten better with age. ; )

Posted by Trishia OP
Vancouver, Washington, United States
59 posts

Thanks so much for all of this advice and information.
I started out our vacation solo and had 3 weeks on my own. I walked for 6 to 8 hours with minor aches. Now, I´m into about day 20 with the hubby and we have 10 days to go. The fact that my feet and lower back were starting to hurt more and not less prompted my post.
Temps have been in the mid 70s in France and Spain, so I´ve been wearing sandals mostly. When I do wear my Clarks, I have the Smart Wool socks. After a 10 hour day of walking and shopping at a flea market, I had red ´marks above my sock line. No pain, but noticed the red marks later. Cut the top of my socks to make sure they were downright saggy the next time I used them....Today is a travel day, so we´ll be lazy on the train and bus, but I´m sure when we get to Avila, we´ll still manage some miles this evening.

Thanks again for all your replies. When I get home, I´ll be going over this info again and make it my goal to do test trials in various shoes to find the one perfect for me!

Posted by emma
London
4091 posts

If you are walking those kind of distances on holiday, and you don't walk them as part of your daily life I think you can only expect to hurt a bit. No matter how comfortable the shoes are they can't do miracles.
You would have to be superhuman to be on your feet for 10 hours and not have somewhere hurt to some extent.
You will probably find that as one part of your feet or body starts to hurt you will( unintentionally) start to adjust your walk to compensate causing somewhere else to hurt, including you back. Listen to your body and try and work out what kind of pain it is. Are your muscles just aching from use or is it more like an actual injury? I was advised by a physio that there is no harm in occasionally taking a mild painkiller for muscular ache. If you take away the pain you are less likely to alter your walk/gait and so less likely to damage somewhere else in your body. But, and it's a big but, you have to be sure it's just an ache not an injury.

I have "problem" feet, back and legs and have always found Sketchers to be a reliable brand. Not the light "go walk" type but the sturdier Sketchers trainers and Mary Janes. I don't know if they are available in the US but the Clark's Cloudstepper range are also very good. Maybe not for hardcore walking for hours but good for strolling around a city. They have good memory foam support and are unbelievably light. Unfortunately they aren't pretty but they are neutral so they don't stand out. One day a shoe company will work out how to make attractive comfortable shoes!

Posted by lizth
77 posts

Having a shoe with good support is critical not only for walking those 5 a 8 miles each day but also for navigating uneven sidewalks, cobblestone streets, and climbing endless staircases in Europe. My favorites are Ahnu and Lowa with a pair of Arcopedia low cut boots for dress occasions. Heavy socks are helpful, as are sock liners if you anticipate an extremely long day of walking. I am currently in Europe for several weeks and averaging 35 miles a week with absolutely no pain, thanks to my Ahnus. They are a little more expensive than American brands, but worth every penny to be able to walk comfortably and securely.

Posted by DJ
TX
688 posts

My iPhone tracked my mileage on my last trip and I averaged 6-8 mile per day like others. I've found prevention via training as others suggest to be the best cure for sore feet. I actually use a very light, unsupportive shoe in my day to day life (and for running) so as to help keep my foot muscles and ligaments stronger. But there is a hump you have to make it over if you switch from a very supportive shoe to a minimalist approach just like if you have a cast on your arm you can't go and play a game of catch right after you get it off you need to build up to it.

My 2€,

DJ

Posted by Ira
Tucson, AZ, US
12 posts

We recently spent 18 days walking the streets of Madrid, Seville, Tangier, Lisbon and Paris. I carry a pedometer and walked exactly 266,138 steps. I wore a pair of Ecco Fusion shoes that I bought literally the day before I left, so they were not broken in. They were the best walking shoes I have ever owned.

Posted by Vick Vega
294 posts

I find that if I stop 2 or 3 times during the day and take off my shoes and socks and massage both of my feet for 5 minutes i feel completely refreshed and rejuvenated. It is amazing, at least for me.

My wife hates having her feet touched and doesnt do this. I tell her she is weird!

In fact, she (sadly) wont touch my feet either. Which is a real bummer as there are few things in life i enjoy more than a foot massage.

She makes up in other ways however....